New initiative teaches convicts coding skills in South Africa

80 kilometers outside of Cape Town is the Worcester Correctional Centre, one of about 240 prisons in South Africa. Here, a group of inmates spend a couple of hours every week learning high-level coding.

This new coding initiative is run by “Brothers for All”, an NGO that works to alleviate poverty and crime in South Africa. The project was started by former inmate, Sihle Tshabalala who was arrested when he was just 19 for robbery and was jailed for 11 years.

Shabalala taught himself how to code in prison and now works with people who he says have been to the “deep end” of life and back. His passion is introducing them to coding as it offers them something that is in demand throughout the world.

Starting off with basic computer skills, they are eventually introduced to high-level coding. Inmates then learn various coding languages, database management and how to build apps and websites.

South Africa has one of the highest prison populations in Africa with over 100,000 prisoners and many who are released often become repeat offenders and end up back in the prison system. This project gives inmates the power to turn their lives around and find jobs or start businesses after they are released